How Do I Know My Artwork is Finished?

How do you know your artwork is finished??? In every artwork, it’s never clear when an artwork is done! This video provides tips for signals in your creative process that you can look for.

What are visual cues in your artwork that you can look for to determine whether your artwork is finished or not?

Discussion led by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artists Deepti Menon and Alex Rowe.

Abstract Acrylic Collage Painting, banner
Abstract Acrylic Painting Compositions

Video Walkthrough

  • Questioning when your artwork is finished is a universal concern.
  • Every artwork is different, there is not system to know if it’s done.
  • There is a fear about whether you will ruin the artwork if you spend too long on it.
  • There is a worry that you haven’t fully resolved the artwork.
  • When is it better to move on to another artwork?
  • When do you simply need to spend more time with an artwork?
  • Many artists get tired of looking at their artwork and need to walk away.
  • It’s common for artworks to simply never get finished.
  • Going back to work on artworks that were created many years ago.
  • Working on old artworks is a collaboration with your past self.
  • Revisit the original intent of the artwork.
  • Is your mind wandering over to new projects?
  • There is an evolution and learning curve for every artwork.
  • Getting feedback from other people on your artwork is important.
  • As an artwork it’s very easy to get stuck in your own head.
  • Step away from the artwork so you can get some distance and look at the artwork with a fresh pair of eyes.
  • Going “too far” with an artwork can be scary, but it can be a good experience in terms of seeing what your limits are with an artwork.
  • Overworking your artwork can tell you where your limits are.
  • Prof Lieu suggestion to create “sacrifice drawings.”
  • Producing a lot of artwork is helpful so you don’t become too precious about specific artworks.
  • You can learn from every artwork, even if it never gets finished.
  • “Such is the life of an artist.”
  • Evaluate your artwork: where does your eye go in the artwork?
  • Compare your artwork to your initial sketches.
  • Remind yourself of why you created the artwork to begin with?
  • Let your mind be open to changes as you work on it.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

Clara cartoon

I think while it’s understandable that artists want to find their style, and focus on various topics, it’s so nice to take a creative “vacation” from yourself and try something different.

Clara Lieu
Watercolor in Utah: Widstoe Cemetery

I truly believe that even if you’re working on a focused series, following these random meanderings that aren’t even remotely similar to what you usually do expand and enrich us as artists.

Artists mentioned

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